Describes a research survey approach used to understand how local workforce investment boards serve youth with disabilities, identifies the challenges that may impede services, and  shares recommendations for the Department of Labor to consider as it relates to support and incentives that influence local decisions.

“As the country continues to emerge from the Great Recession, the challenges identified with youth unemployment remains particularly complex. The road to employment and economic self-sufficiency is considerably steeper for youth who face some type of physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health, chronic health, or other disability. Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) mandates the provision of workforce development services…to both youth and adults, including to those with disabilities…Abt Associates was retained by the U.S. Department of Labor…to examine the extent to which WIA’s Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) are providing services to youth with disabilities through their American Job Centers (AJCs) and network of service providers. In addition, the research seeks to identify factors that may be challenges to the provision of these services.

The cornerstone of this research is a survey of the universe of LWIB Executive Directors…The survey data were gathered via an on-line survey that was completed (or partially completed) by 69 percent of the Executive Directors or their designees. In addition to examining general perspectives and challenges in serving youth with disabilities, the survey examines how LWIBs: 1) identify participant needs and customize services; 2) build staff capacity to better serve this population; 3) integrate activities and funding to provide an expanded resource base; 4) reach the out-of-school population of youth with disabilities; and 5) provide employment and community service opportunities” (p.1).

“The following five research questions [formed] the foundation of this research initiative.

• What efforts have Local Workforce Investment Areas (LWIAs) made to improve their ability to identify and respond to the distinct service needs of this population?

• What efforts have LWIAs made to leverage resources and create partnerships to serve this population?

• What efforts have Local Workforce Investment Boards made to enhance staff capacity to serve youth with disabilities?

• What efforts do LWIBs make to reach and serve out-of-school youth with disabilities?

 • What efforts LWIAs made to provide work and community service opportunities for youth with disabilities, including partnerships with employers?” (p.13)

(Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Services for Youth With Disabilities Under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act: Results From a Survey of Local Workforce Investment Boards